Skip to main content

‹‹‹ prev (12)

(14) next ›››

PART I. Op Orthography. The
Gaelic Alphabet has eigliteen letters, a, b,
c, d, e, f, g, h, i, 1, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u ;
of which five are vowels, a, e, i, o, u ; the
rest consonants.
Of Vowels. A represents three differ-
ent sounds ; 1. a as in bar, as càs, predica-
ment ; short, as a in cat. The third sound
is rather a peculiar one, being the short
sound of ao (which see explained in the
Key), and is generally before dh and gh, as
stadh, agh, a swathe of grass, a heifer,
— in the articles and plural of nouns a
sounds like u shut ; as, an duine, un dùèn'-
ao, tlie man.
E has three different sounds ; 1st, è like
the Greek ij, as pronounced in Scotland and
on the Continent, ore long in where, whèr;
2d, sounds like a in fame, as, re an latha,
during the day ; 3d, e final has tlie sound
of a (ao) in agh, a heifer, beannaichte,
byann-èch-tyao, blessed.
I sounds like ee in English when marked
thus, i, as sith, sheeh, peace ; slnn, stretch,
rlgh, rreeh, king ; short, as ee in feet, bith,
being, existence.
O has three different sounds both short
and long; as o in lord, òl, drinking, gòr-
zch, foolish; 2d, like o in fold; as, cos, a
sponge, kos — short when not marked ; as,
borb, turbulent ; god, toss the head ; od, lorn,
Horn, bare, like o in mote, a particle of
dust. Before mh, and sometimes ra and n,
it has a nasal sound to which there is no si-
milar sound in English. See the Key. o
sounds ao or u shut in do, thy, ino, my,—
(do, mo, should be du, mu).
U has four soimds long and short ; long,
as 00 in moon ; as, ùr, fresh, new ; short,
as, ugh, an egg, like oo in fool or u in bush.
In gu, and rud, and cuthach, its shut sound,
has, gao, raod, cao-hueh. See Key.
Diphthongs. There are thirteen of
these, ai, ae, ao ; ea, ei, eu ; ia, io, iu ; oi ;
ua, ui ; of which, ao, eu, ia, ua, are always
long; — ao, eu, are styled by our Gramma-
rians, improper diphthongs, because, pro-
perly speaking, there are no diphthongs but
themselves in the Gaelic, ia, &c. being
double sounds, (ea);— ae, never occurs but in
Gael, a Highlander.
Ai sounds like i in like; or ae. Ai
sounds often aòè ; as, gairm, a call, tairbh,
bulls, mairbh, the dead, airm, arms,
gairbhe, grosser. The a in these and many
other instances represent the short sound
ofao, which is always long, as in /aoiAar,
edge of a tool. It is, however, very often
in this shape, very stupidly changed into
Oj as, clann, cloinne, faighidinn./oJ^/iM-
inn. By the bye, it is not using us in Ar-
gyle politely, to write this word foighidinn,
seeing it is impossible to pronounce it
fijj-èj-èny2, whereas others may, quite con-
sistently, pronounce faighdinn, fao-èj-èny2._
Ea like è ; as, fear, fèr or fe-ur (short),'
sometimes sounds ya; as, cealg, kyalag,
Ei is the short sound of eu generally, but
sometimes sounds both vowels; as, feidh,
faey, deer ; 2d, like a ; as, rèidh, ra, plain,
level; but if spelt as it should be, reudh,
there would be no occasion for making e
thus, Ò.
Eo sounds yò ; as ceo, Kyaw, mist.
Ia sounds ea ; as fiar, (fear,) oblique ; but
in cia, what ? and iad, ia, is pronounced a
and è, kà, èd, — properly cè, eud.
Io generally sounds eu, the u being for
the most part shut, as in under ; as sior shè-
ur or she'r, ever; sometimes the io sounds
like èù or ù of the French, as iongantas,
eaong-ant-as, fyonder. In some places the
o is uniformly mispronounced ù, — hence
such absurdities as grùthach for griobhach,
grev-ach, the measles.
Iu sounds u or eCi ; as fiii, fu, or feu ;
sometimes yu, as diult, dyQlt, refuse.
Oi is very apt to be mispronounced also,
— hence, buin for boin, touch ; uidhche for
oidhche, night, — for the most part is mis-
pronounced Ù ; as much for moch, early ;
fulbh for folbh, go ; mult for molt, a wed-
der; uircean for oircean (or Toircean), a
pigling ; oi for the most part sounds both
its vov/els; thus, doigh, dòèy', method;
sometimes it is used for ai ; as goir for gair,
gaor', crow as a cock ; coinneal for cainneal,

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence